Forgiveness is a no-brainer, not because its easy but because the brain can’t forgive.
If we believe that someone has wronged us, the brain will not allow us to truly forgive them. It’s illogical and simply does not compute. Like a dog with a bone the brain holds on to all the pain, blame, anger, shame and guilt so that we do not get caught off guard again. To the brain forgiveness is a weakness and that is in opposition to its safety scanning program. Always vigilant for what can go wrong, the hoarder of horrible experience, the brain is not about to condone letting go or forgiving.
That is why it is so hard to do. Despite our challenge, forgiveness is all the rage. Religion tells us that forgiving holds the keys to kingdom, to liberation. We all aspire to forgive and feel that relief. To quell our qualms, the brain created a pseudo solution, a faux form of forgiveness. This version, consistent with the brain’s safety features, is designed to prop us up with moral superiority and self righteousness while keeping all the judgement, pain and blame intact. It sounds like :“I am right, you are wrong. I am the better person, as such I forgive you from my perch on high.” This is more of an ego trip than a transformative, cathartic, liberating, spiritual experience.
True forgiveness is way beyond the brain’s pay grade. True forgiveness transcends the offense and has nothing to do with acknowledging or absolving guilt. True forgiveness is predicated on certain truths that the brain will not and cannot endorse.
True forgiveness recognizes that:
Everyone is always doing their best given their version of the world, even if it doesn’t look that way to us.
Under the same circumstances we all could have done the same thing.
We are all equal in spirit.
We are perfect, whole and complete, and so is everyone else.
There is not a right or wrong way to be.
There is nothing that is inherently good or bad. Everything is neutral until we choose otherwise.
Nothing is wrong with us. We do not need to be fixed, nor does anyone else.
Anything is possible in every moment.
I am sure the brain is having quite a rebellion at the thought of entertaining these ideas. That is what makes them, like forgiveness, so incredibly powerful. They bypass and take us beyond the limitations of the brain, beyond what is physical, tangible and sensory, and beyond the dualities of right and wrong, good and bad, guilt and punishment. This is only a minute fraction of the world we live in, but like infinity the brain cannot fathom what lies beyond itself. Forgiveness is not a miracle because of who we forgive, for what and why but because it provokes us to transcend what is obvious to what is true.
Our brain is not the center of the universe. We control the brain. It does not control or define us. It is not who we are. Who we are, then, is a question we should all be pondering for ourselves and the brain does not have the answer.
What is beyond the brain is for us decide. We can call it the soul or the heart or whatever works for us. To forgive we must be out of our minds quite literally and that is where the magic happens - clarity, peace, joy, unconditional love, trust, faith, presence - all the things the brain can’t fathom - because it is the source of all that is.
For Fear: Go Beyond Your Brain
Each day entertain one of the bulleted points above.
You need not believe them.
Just spend the day experiencing the world “As if”.
Notice the shifts you experience as a result: Are you more open? Does life move a little slower? Do you smile more? Do you like yourself more? Is your brain calmer?
Forgive with reckless abandon and enjoy the freedom you feel when you live life out of your mind!